OIG recommends improvements for OSHA whistleblower protections


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Washington – Although OSHA has improved its Whistleblower Protection Programs in recent years, the Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General had concluded that the agency could do more to strengthen protection.

An OIG report released Sept. 30 states that about 20 percent of all whistleblower reviews from October 2012 to March 2014 failed to meet at least one of seven elements essential to the investigation, including contacting witnesses, contacting the respondent or notification of appeal rights.

Additionally, OSHA did not adequately communicate with the agency’s enforcement units or other federal agencies regarding alleged whistleblower violations.

OIG recommended that OSHA develop and implement a process to ensure a good working relationship with other agencies, develop training curriculum for investigators, issue an updated Whistleblower Investigations Manual and ensure the manual is regularly updated. In response, OSHA administrator David Michaels agreed that more work can be done to strengthen the program, but stated that some of the report’s findings were unsupported or relied on inaccurate data, including data related to referrals.